"I have to see a thing a thousand times before I see it once.”
― Thomas Wolfe
As summer faded to fall this September, I had the occasion to be in Asheville, NC for a wedding. The leaves had not turned completely, only hints of golds, ambers and bright red colors were making their way to the surface. The air was just beginning to have the morning crispness which made the sky and the mountains all the more clear. I was struck with thinking…this used to be my home.
It is hard to believe that eleven years had passed since my last visit to see my friends that feel like family. It had been thirty years since I bought my first house there. I drove the neighborhoods I used to run through, and returned to the University of North Carolina–Asheville where I once worked. I was simultaneously surprised with how much change had happened, and too, how little.
I had equal moments of knowing exactly where I was, and not knowing if I should turn right or left. Being in Asheville had both an ease and discomfort. Asheville native and major American novelist, Thomas Wolfe captures this feeling In Look Homeward, Angel. There is poignancy to returning to a place that you once loved so deeply; time makes every memory sweeter and every hardship equally distant. The famous quote from Wolfe’s novel, “you can’t go home again” signifies a time for new direction.
It now occurs to me that we have a responsibility to be fully “at home” where ever we live. That being “home” has much to do with the comfort of our interior lives rather than the four exterior walls we may call a house. Perhaps that’s where the truth lies in the beloved saying “home is where the heart is.” Did you return “home” for fall break? What did you notice? Was the once familiar and comfortable changed to something different? How has Loyola become your home? As you continue on your personal growth journey and find new “homes” along the way, keep in mind Wolfe’s advice: Make your mistakes, take your chances, look silly, but keep on going. Don’t freeze up. Keep on going…